9-15-07 Falling Upon Autumn

In This Issue:

  1.     Falling Upon Autumn
  2.     Seeds of Purpose
  3.     Fall Planting Guide
  4.     Gardenerd Tip of the Month: Bulbs!
  5.     Gardenerd Product of the Month: Dark Tee

1. Falling Upon Autumn

In one week, fall will be here. While the calendar dictates that we officially bid farewell to summer, it also signifies the beginning of so many things: Back-to-School, cooler weather, autumn colors in the countryside, sweaters (okay, maybe I’m getting ahead of myself here), and my favorite planting season of the whole year. To get things off to great start, this edition of the Gardenerd Gazette features our annual fall planting guide, as well as some other timely hints for the season. So sit back, grab your favorite gardening journal and get ready for a fabulous fall in the garden.

2. Seeds of Purpose

I took a week of summer to venture out to Burning Man this year. For those who aren’t familiar, Burning Man is a counter-culture art event, a temporary community of 40,000 people created each year out in the middle of the desert during the hottest part of the year. Why would anyone want to go there, you might ask? Both times I’ve been, I’ve asked myself the same question, and immediately – almost in the same breath – have been able to answer the question with one of a hundred answers just by looking around at the amazing art, music, creativity, self-expression and community effort put forth by the attendees. For my husband, who has gone every year for the last 10 years, Burning Man is the “reset button” on his life. For me, it’s a chance to overcome some challenges that don’t serve me anymore.

This year the theme of the event was “The Green Man”. Naturally I felt a particular draw to go, as I knew that most people would be focusing on the environmental element of the theme. While I am a card-carrying environmentalist, the obvious choice for me was to celebrate things that grow. Since no money is exchanged at Burning Man, people bring “gifties” to give others as thanks for any number of things. In the spirit of this generosity, I decided to bring seed packets to give away.

I found Victory Seed Company online, who could print a photo on a packet of heirloom sunflower seeds. They happily accommodated my full-color order, even adding the words, “Grow Something Green!” on the bottom of the artwork I uploaded. Victory Seeds specializes in open-pollinated and heirloom seed varieties. Last month I added them to my list of trusted resources on Links page of Gardenerd.com. So if you happen to need seed packets for your wedding, baby shower or desert event, look them up and grow something green.

3. Fall Planting Guide

In Southern California, fall is a full-fledged growing season. In other parts of the country, where most gardening folks are plenty familiar with cold frames and greenhouses, they can extend their growing season and squeak in some gardening before the chills hit. Regardless of where you live, there’s no better time to amend your soil than fall. This is a great time to test your soil and add appropriate pH balancing ingredients to work themselves in over winter. It’s also the best time to add compost, composted manure, and trace minerals. If you aren’t going to be gardening this fall, mulch your beds to keep weed seeds at bay. If you are growing this fall, here is a list of veggies to plant anytime between September 15th (that’s now) and mid to late October:

Lettuces: loose-leaf and head varieties.

Greens: arugula, mustard greens, collards, spinach, and Swiss chard.

Herbs: parsley – flat and curly, cilantro, thyme, fennel, mint, sorrel, and lovage.

Brassicas (in mild climates): broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kohl-rabi.

Root vegetables: carrots, parsnips, beets, turnips, and radishes.

Bulb Vegetables: Green onions, and Garlic! Grow your year’s supply of garlic in as little as 4 square feet.

Vines: Peas, and sweet peas (for color).

Green manure crops: these are cover crops that lock in nitrogen and that build up the soil: fava beans, clover, hairy vetch, and the like. Dedicate one raised bed per fall season for this wonderful soil builder and you will have a loamy foundation to start with in spring. Check out www.groworganic.com for their wonderful selection of cover crops.

4. Gardenerd Tip of the Month: Bulbs!

It’s about 8 weeks before Thanksgiving. So what? Well, late November is when I plant my bulbs here in So Cal. In warmer climates many bulbs need to be refrigerated for those precious 8 weeks before planting. Refrigerating forces them into dormancy, and when cold weather hits, they sleep until spring. So now is the perfect time to start shopping for them. If you haven’t already been hit with full color, glossy ads from bulb companies all over the globe, there’s still time to explore the wonderful assortment of bulbs available. Check out Michigan Bulb Company and their extensive varieties. Click here for $20 off your first order of $50 or more at Michigan Bulb! . Add some color and freshness to your spring landscape by planting bulbs this fall.

5. Gardenerd Product of the Month: Dark Tee

Given that there is a lot of work/play to do in the garden this fall, you’re going to need something that stands up to the task. Check out all the groovy colors available in this month’s featured product: The Gardenerd Dark T-Shirt. Cut and sized for guys, but works for gals as well (or you ladies can check out the Gardenerd Ladies’ Dark T-Shirt for a slimming fit). You’ll be ready for building raised beds, hauling bags of compost, raking leaves and anything else nature can throw at you with your new Gardenerd Dark T.

For those of you who haven’t signed up at www.gardenerd.com, you’re missing out on the Tip of the Week, and the latest updates on the website and tons of info on the Gardenerd Blog – just this month you’ll see the Gardens of France, tomato harvest recipes, Sage Advice tips and more! I’m consolidating my mailing lists, so you will be automatically signed up if you receive this newsletter via my personal e-mail address. Don’t worry – We never sell your information or burden your inbox with excessive mail. You’ll also receive your very own copy of Christy’s Top 5 Organic Gardening Tips for signing up. You can always unsubscribe at any time, and keep the Top 5 Tips, but I’m sure you’ll enjoy what’s growin’ on at Gardenerd.com.

Stay tuned for more gardening tips and tidbits from the Gardenerd. Happy Fall Gardening!

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